Saturday, May 13, 2023

Springtime with mittens

I got thinking today about my old-time twined mitten obsession and decided to take a glamour shot of one pair, out on our sundrenched, springtime deck.

The yarn I used for these was hand spun, by me, from a wool/mohair blend hand dyed by my friend Sylvia. And they were my second pair, so there is no excuse for my having spun the yarn in the traditional way instead of in the reverse, so that the twining would have gone easier.

(When twining, you twist two strands of yarn around each other and knit with one, then the next, then stop and untwist the tangle your two yarns have gotten into because you didn't twine with yarn spun in the reverse direction. It makes mitten production very, very slow.)

The beauty of twined mittens is that they are super warm. And why not: you have two strands of yarn throughout, twisted at every stitch so there are no holes for wind to breeze through. The problem they pose is the same. I mostly wear mittens out on walks, but because I am a brisk walker my palms are damp after ten minutes, and halfway through my loop I have to take off the mittens altogether.

In the background: the first step in Pete's plan
to thicken up the small patch of grass in our back yard

My mystery novel SNOWED did not make the shortlist for the Debut Dagger Awards this year, but it's still a winner with me because one of the three main characters is a textile fanatic (hello), who makes most of her own clothes to suit her preferences (Um, no, I am not that committed.) There's a murder in this story, naturally, and this character goes off to the victim's outdoor memorial service wearing mitts I imagined to be like these ones. This is another satisfying element to writing fiction: you get to add in bits of things that you yourself enjoy.

Earlier this week I was sent flowers as a thank-you for something I did a while back, and they were stunning, but around the time the Debut Dagger shortlist was announced without my name on it, two of the flowers decided to shed their petals. I swear, one of them made an almost-audible sound as I passed, a kind of a Poof! just before ten petals collapsed to the mantel. Might have been a sign?

The fallen petals: INCREDIBLY SOFT.

It's just as well though, because not being shortlisted frees me to get back to work on the current novel in progress. In this one, which skews closer to Suspense, I'm humouring my love of fabric with a main character who lives out of a capsule wardrobe, the better to cut costs and stay mobile. She has a sweater she wears with everything (the story is set in an especially creepy October) and every time I reference it I picture a giant basketweave pullover my older sister knit in the 70s on oversized plastic needles she never used again. Actually this is not how I describe the sweater - the colour in the story is more mustard than orange the texture more Aran than Basket - but I picture my sister's all the same. 

Some of the writing for this *might* happen on our back deck, but not right away because it's blossom time and I don't concentrate well when surrounded by bees. 

That's a pretty good canopy there, don't you think? We trained our lilac through a custom gap in the fence to make this happen. Unfortunately we forgot we'd also be making a lot of fallen leaves and bark happen, without the ability to raise a sun umbrella without cutting precious light from the lilac. Eating at the table beneath is always an adventure.

Sitting is good though. So good I'm going to head out there right now with a cup of tea and a book, before I make a start on supper.

Hope your weekend's been absolutely lovely so far and gets better as it goes on, and I'll see you next week!

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